Jay and the Reception








“All right, Brian,” Yvonne Williamson heard her husband Mark say as she came down the stairs, “send what we need, and we’ll lay plans.  It has to be that day?


“I know, but from what you say, the family are going to be out until later – it means we adjust timings appropriately.


“Okay – we’ll be in touch,” Mark said as he put the phone down and looked at his wife.  “We have a request to fulfil – open some wine, I need to grab a file.”  Yvonne nodded as she headed to the kitchen, returning with a bottle of wine and two glasses as Mark came out of his home office with a manila folder.


“So who does Brian want us to visit,” she said as they sat in front of the coffee table, putting the glasses down and opening the bottle of Chardonnay as Mark laid some photos onto the table.


“The Pithers?”


“Yeah – Brian is concerned Philip’s office is being used for money laundering,” Mark said as he looked at one photo, with a white haired man in a smart suit and a blonde haired woman in a blue dress.  “So we - well, we pay that visit we had planned.  As you know, they have three kids – two girls and a boy.  There’s also a live in nanny come housekeeper, who has two daughters as well.”


Yvonne looked at the other photos, before she said “so what’s the problem with that weekend?”


“I happen to know the Pither family are attending Philip’s brother’s wedding that morning – so they should be back en masse late afternoon.  It means we go earlier that afternoon, secure the house, and then do what we do so well.”


Nodding, Yvonne said “Fair point – well, the kids have an invitation to Holderness Manor this weekend, so we should be good.  Who do we call?”




“How’s it going in there, girls?”


“Getting my homework done, Mum,” Carol Drinkwater said as she called back from her seat at the table, “and Edna is drawing a picture.”  She smiled as she looked at her five year old sister, her long blonde hair falling in soft curls down her head.  She was wearing a grey pinafore dress over a long sleeved pink blouse, her legs in pink wool tights and a pair of mid-calf burgundy leather boots. 


Carol was ten years old, her dark curly hair pulled back in a short ponytail on her head.  Her grey cardigan was over a blue dress with pink butterflies over it, her feet in a pair of red flat slippers.  Looking back down at the book, she started to write some more of her essay.


Grace Drinkwater smile and shook her head as she went back to sweeping the floor of the main room of the Pither home.  She was in her late thirties, her hair the same colour as Grace’s, and she was wearing a short sleeved yellow top and tan pants, her feet in a pair of black ankle boots.  When her husband had died, this had been a refuge, a new start for her.


It was a good job, and she liked the kids - more importantly, they liked Carol and Edna, and that meant the world to her.  Even when the doorbell rang, and she was not expecting any deliveries.


“Guess Pippa ordered more clothes,” she said with a sigh as she put the broom to one side, and then walked to the front door, looking at the figures through the frosted glass.  Opening the door, she smiled and said “good afternoon, how can I…”


“Good afternoon, Grace – kindly step back, and remain calm.”


She stared at the six figures who walked in, the sole woman among them closing the door as she tried to process what was happening.  They were all wearing blue boiler suits, boots and gloves – as well as black balaclavas covering their heads so that she could only see their eyes and mouths.


“Shit,” she said quietly, “what do you want?”


“To conduct some business with Mister Philip Pither,” the man who had spoken continued, his accent a soft North of England one, “Allow me to introduce myself – my name is Jay Edwards.  Perhaps you have heard of me?”


Grace slowly nodded – him she had heard of.  “So – so, are you Mrs McPhee?”


“Aye,” the masked woman said as two of the other men put their canvas bags down on the floor.  “Noo, remain calm, ahn tell me where yer bairns are.”


“They’re – they’re in there,” Grace said quietly as she looked to the door to the dining room, “please, don’t hurt them…”


“We have no intention of hurting them,” Jay said in his calm, soothing voice as he looked at Grace, “but we do need to ensure they cannot let the Pithers know what is going to happen.  Mrs McPhee, will you do the honours?”


“Aye – cum wi me,” the masked woman said as one of the men picked up a bag and walked with her, while Jay said “as for you, Grace, kindly put your hands behind your back…”



Carol looked up as the door opened, and then stared at the two masked people as they walked in, the woman smiling as she said “Wuhl hello there – Ah’m Mrs McPhee, and who are ye twa?”


“Carol…  this is Edna,” she said as her sister stared at the new arrivals, “who are you?  Where’s my mum?”


“Mah friend Jay is talking tae her,” Mrs McPhee said, “What are ye both doing?”


“Drawing,” Edna said as she came over and looked.


“It’s lovely – and ye Carol?”


“Homework – why are you wearing masks?  Are you robbers?”


“Aye, we are – ahn we’re gonna be here a while, so ah need tae make sure ye cannot dae sum fings – but we can hae fun doing it.  Dae ye trust me?”


Carol looked at Edna, and slowly nodded as she said “what are you going to do first?”


“Bind yer legs while ye both finish what yer doin,” Mrs McPhee said as the masked man put the bag down, and handed her some lengths of white cord, “so dae ye mind if I pull yer chairs oot, then push them back again?”


Carol shook her head as the man pulled her chair back, Mrs McPhee kneeling down and binding her ankles together, as well as her legs below her knees while Edna watched. 


“IT’s all right,” Carol said as Mrs McPhee stood up, and she lifted her legs up and down, “it doesn’t hurt Edna, so let her do it.”


“Okay,” the younger girl said as she watched the masked woman wrap the rope round her ankles and pull them together, giggling at the squeak as her boots rubbed together while the rope was tied tightly round them.  Mrs McPhee then tied her legs together below her knees, before she pushed her chair back in.


“Noo then,” she said with a smile, “ah need tae make sure ye both stay nice ahnd quiet.  So put yer lips together - and when ye’re done, we go and join yer mum…”






Grace looked to the doorway as she saw Carol and Edna jump in, both of them with their hands behind their back and white tape covering their mouths.


“Hllmhhm – uhrlhkhshswhl?”


She could only nod as she twisted round on the couch, her wrists held firmly together behind her back and rope round her arms and upper body.  Her legs were also secured together at her ankles and legs, and white tape covered her mouth as the two girls sat themselves down either side of her.  She leaned over and pressed her gagged lips on their heads, as Jay said “now then, you can watch something quietly until the family return.  Mrs McPhee, what do you suggest?”


“Ah’ll look,” the masked woman said as she turned the television on, and looked through the streaming services until she said “ah fihnk this is guid.”


“Fhknun,” Edna said as the Paw Patrol movie started, Grace looking at her mother as they settled back to watch.


“Phone lines and internet?”


“Disconnected, Jay – what now?”


“No, we wait for the Pither family to return….”






“Well, we’re home again,” Philip Pither said as he drove the SUV up the driveway, and pulled up outside the front door.  He was wearing a grey suit and a white shirt, a grey patterned tie under the collar, while Pippa was wearing a blue wrap-round silk dress.


The white haired man got out of the car, his black leather shoes crunching the gravel, as Pippa got out on the other side.  She opened the rear doors as their children got carefully out.


Craig was thirteen years old, and like his father was wearing a suit, shirt and tie.  His suit was black, his tie a red, white and green check, while he wore brown shoes.  His hair was brown, neatly cut.


Twelve year old Annabelle was next to come out, her long brown hair falling over her shoulders.  She was wearing an ivory coloured dress, held up by wide shoulder bands, her arms bare.  The dress itself was made with layers of silk and lace, and came down to the floor.


Rowena was nine years old, and had long blonde hair like her mother.  She was wearing the same style of dress as her sister, with a silk bow tied in her hair.


“Let’s go in, I want to get changed,” Philip said as they walked to the front door and walked in, Pippa calling out “Grace, we’re back.”


“Grace? Where are you,” she asked again as Philip walked into the front room, and then said “oh my god…”


“What’s wrong Dad,” Craig said as the children went in, and then Pippa heard Rowena shout “MUMMY!”  She walked in to see Grace and her daughters sitting on the couch, bound and tape gagged as a masked woman stood behind them.


“Good afternoon, Philip – I trust the wedding was a success?”


Pippa turned her head to see a masked man, like the woman wearing a blue boiler suit, who was smiling as he said “as you can see, your housekeeper and her daughters are fine, if secured and silenced.  Mrs McPhee has taken good care of them – and now, we are going to take just as good care of your children while I have a chat with you and your wife.”


“Mrs McPhee…  Oh my god, you’re Jay Edwards?”


The masked man nodded, Pippa wondering why she felt his voice was easing her fears, before he said “now, why don’t you both put your hands behind your back, and allow my friends to secure your wrists – and then you can stay while we make sure your children are all secured and quiet.”




“Don’t worry,” Craig said as he stood with his sisters, “I’ll protect you both.”  He watched as the other two masked men took lengths of rope out of a bag, and walked behind his parents as Philip said “look – I want you to do whatever they say.  I’ve heard of them – I don’t want any of you to get hurt.”


As their parent’s wrists were secured, Mrs McPhee said “look at Grace and Edna – dae they look afraid?”


Annabelle shook her head as she saw the smile under the tape covering their lips, and then felt the rope on her own wrists as the masked lady took her hands behind her back, and started to secure them together.  She could feel the rope on her bare skin a sit went around and between her arms, and then was tied off.


“Do as she says, Rowena – it doesn’t hurt,” she said, her younger sister nodding as her hands were taken behind her back, while another masked man took Craig’s hands behind his back and started to bind his wrists together.  He looked at his father, who nodded as he said “it’s all right son – it’s going to be a very different afternoon and evening for all of us.”


Craig just nodded as Grace was helped to stand up and hop over to an armchair, while Jay said “Carol and Edna – shuffle over to the ends of the couch, so your friends can sit with you.”


“Hkhhmhshthrhdwhrds,” Grace said as they did that, Annabelle and Rowena walking over and sitting down as the skirt of their dress raised slightly.  Mrs McPhee knelt down and used white rope to bind their bare ankles together, their silver slippers now visible, before she folded the skirt of Annabelle’s dress back and tied her legs together below her knees.  She repeated this for Rowena, before Craig sat in the centre of the couch and watched as the masked woman bound his legs as well.


“Noo then,” she said as she picked up a roll of white tape in her gloved hands, “Purse yer lips fer me.”


“Come with me,” Jay said as he took Pippa by the arm, another man taking Philip and following him as they walked into the dining room.  As they sat down on the chairs, Philip watched as the masked man used a longer rope to bind her to the chair back, as Jay sat down and looked at Philip.


“Let me guess – they are your hostages, and you want me to do something for you?”


“Well – yes,” Jay said with a smile as Philip felt himself being forced to the back of his chair with rope.  “As you said to your son, this will be a very different day for all of you.  In a short while, we will allow Grace to prepare some supper for all of you, and then one of my friends will go with you.  Do as he says, everything will be fine here.”


Philip nodded as he said “all right – I think I know you will take care of them.  Pippa?”


“We don’t have a choice, do we darling?  At least we got to the wedding – they could have called earlier today…”


“that would not have happened – I had no desire to deprive you of attending the happy event.  And besides – it may have caused people to try and contact you, and we cannot allow that.  So relax – it can be a pleasant experience if you allow it to be.”


Philip nodded before he heard muffled laughs, and then saw through the open door the children jump to the kitchen, the skirts of his daughter’s dresses jumping up and down as they passed with their mouths covered in tape.


“Getting them ae drink,” Mrs McPhee said as they passed, Jay nodding as he said “so – what do they have for supper…”





As Grace set the plates down in front of everyone, she had to admit it was a sight she had never in her wildest nightmares thought she would experience.  The five children were sat round one end of the table, ropes round their waists holding them on the chairs, their hands freed but the tape still covering their mouths, while Philip and Pippa sat in their chairs, still bound in place.


She sat herself down, raising her hands to allow Mrs McPhee to wrap the rope round her waist to keep her there, before Jay said “thank you – those with tape over their mouths may now remove it, and hand the lengths to Mrs McPhee to dispose of.


“How are you, Edna,” Grace said as she looked at her younger daughter.


“I’m fine, Mummy,” she said with a smile, “and I’m not scared.  Not at all.”


“None of us are,” Rowena said as her brother and sister nodded.  “Mrs McPhee told us to treat it as a big game, and that helped.  How did we look, Mum?”


“What do you mean,” Pippa said as she looked at them.


“When we were jumping round – how did it look?”


“I have to admit, it did look as if you were having fun,” Pippa replied as they took a drink, “and it was funny how your dress moved with you.”


“Well, at least you’re all happy,” Philip said as he looked round the table, “so eat up – but I do need to tell you what is going to happen when we have eaten.


“According to Jay Edwards, the children will be taken up and allowed to get ready for bed, as will you Grace.  When they come down – well, you are all going to be tied up again.”


“Like before,” Craig asked as he looked at his father.  Philip looked at Jay who said “actually, we need to really make sure you won’t be able to move or speak, so it will be tighter – but I promise you, it will not hurt.”


“tighter in what way,” Carol asked.


“Ye’ll see,” Mrs McPhee said with a smile.


“So we get to be bound and gagged,” Annabelle said with a sigh, “and then?”


“Ye can watch the telly fer a while, but then ye go to yer beds, and we make sure ye stay there until the morning.”


“I will be going to do something for them,” Philip continued, “but your mother will also be allowed to change before I go, and she will watch the television with you and Grace.  Whatever happens, we’ll talk about it in the morning, all right?”


He looked round the table as all five of them nodded, before Pippa said “right – let’s talk about what we can all do tomorrow when we have a chance.  How does a trip to the cinema for all of us sound…”




“Is the dishwasher loaded, Grace?”


“It is,” the housekeeper said as she watched the masked men untie her daughters, and allow them to stand up.


“You can stay here until they come down,” Jay said as Mrs McPhee took Edna’s hand, and Grace walked beside Carol.  As they left the room, Grace heard Pippa say “she’s been incredibly brave Philip,” and smiled as they walked up the stairs.


“Noo then,” Mrs McPhee said as they reached the top of the stairs, “where do ye girls want to be tonight – ye room or wi yer mofer.”


“Can we be with you Mum,” Edna sad as she looked at Grace, smiling as she nodded.  “And can we wear matching pyjamas?”


“If you want – the Hello Kitty ones?”


Both girls nodded as Mrs McPhee said “yer mum will fetch them while ye wash – and can yer get some sports socks as well?”




Mrs McPhee just smiled as the girls went into the bathroom, and she went to their rooms, returning with two sets of pink pyjamas which she took in.  When all three came out, Edna and Carol were wearing pink tops and shorts, with the Hello Kitty face and red dots printed on them.  The tops had short sleeves with a white trim, and their shorts came to their knees.


“Ye turn,” Mrs McPhee said as Grace went into the toilet, carrying a third set of pyjamas with her, as the girls watched.  The masked woman then said “holds these in yer hands, and make fists wi them.”


She handed each girl two half white sponges, waiting as they made fists, their fingers sinking into the sponge before she covered their fists with silver tape, making them like boxing gloves.  They both looked at each other, before she pulled the white sports socks over the fists, and used the white tape to secure the tops to their arms.


“Oh my – it looks as if you are wearing gloves,” Grace said as she came out, wearing the same style of pyjamas.  Her shorts were shorter, and her top did not have the white trim on the sleeves.


“Yeah – but it means we can’t use our hands,” Edna giggled as she waved her hands around.


“I think that might be the point – me as well?”


“You as well,” Mrs McPhee said as she handed Grace two half sponges, and then tore the end free of the silver tape.  The two girls watched as she had her hands covered as well, before Mrs McPhee took some rope from a bag, and guided their mother’s hands behind her back.


“So we get tied up first,” Carol said as they watched their mother.


“Aye – but watch carefully,” the masked woman said as she secured the ends, and then wrapped a longer length of rope round Grace, pulling it tight under her chest as she felt her arms being forced into her sides. 


“That’s – new,” Carol said quietly as Mrs McPhee wound the rope round their mother, forming the two bands that framed her chest before she secured the ends behind her back.  The bands were then cinched with smaller lengths between her arms and body, drawing the bands together as she did so.




“It’s – snug Edna,” Grace eventually said, “but it’ll be all right. Let her do this to you as well.”


The girls nodded as Mrs McPhee made sure their arms were as snugly secured as Grace, both of them twisting round as she said “May I ask a favour?”




“Don’t gag us yet – wait until everyone is ready.  I want them to have the chance to talk about how they feel.”


Mrs McPhee looked at her, and then nodded as she said “Aye – I’ll tell Jay.  Cum on – we’ll wait downstairs.”


The quartet walked down and stood in the dining room, Craig and the other two girls starting at them as she said “Jay, they want to be able to talk until later.  Nae problem?”


“No problem – will you untie Craig and take him to get ready?  The girls will come up with me in a few minutes.  Would you take Grace and her daughters into the front room and stay with them?”


“Of course, Jay,” one of the masked men said as she took the bound Drinkwater family with him, Mrs McPhee releasing Craig from the chair and then walking upstairs with him.


“what do you want me to do,” Craig whispered as they reached his bedroom.


“Cum in,” Mrs McPhee said as she opened the door, and they walked in.  “Ah need ye tae find some pyjamas, and a pair of white sports socks – then go tae the bathroom and get changed.  Ah need yer help wi something.”


Craig nodded as he removed his jacket and his tie, putting them over the back of a chair before he opened a drawer and handed the masked woman a pair of sports socks.  He then took out a pair of grey pyjamas and went to the bathroom, one of the masked men outside as Mrs McPhee went to the girl’s bedrooms.


When he came out, Craig was wearing a grey t-shirt and shorts, smiling as he saw the girls come up.  “Richt gahls,” Mrs McPhee said as she handed them each a pair of pink pyjamas with teddy bears on them.  “Take these in thair, and hand me oot yer dresses.  Ah’ll put them in yer rooms tae hang later.”


“Do as she says,” Craig whispered, the girls nodding as they went into the bathroom.  “Mrs McPhee – are you going to tie us the same way as Grace and Edna?”


“aye – why?”


“I don’t know – seeing them made me feel a bit…”




As Craig nodded, the masked woman smiled.  “Tell ye what – help me wi yer sisters, and then ah’ll take care of ye myself.”


Craig nodded as the two girls came out, their hair pulled back in a ponytail as they looked at Craig.  “Into here,” Mrs McPhee said as she indicated Annabelle’s bedroom – the three of them going in as Pippa walked up.


“Mrs McPhee has asked me to help,” Craig said as the girls stood there.  “Rowena, I will take care of you while Mrs McPhee takes care of Annabelle.”


“Okay,” the younger girl said as Mrs McPhee took some sponge balls from the bag, handing two to Craig.  “Make fists wi these in yer hands,” she said, the girls holding their hands out as they gripped the sponges, then watching as Mrs McPhee wrapped Annabelle’s fists in the silver tape.


“Your turn,” Craig said as he took the tape and wrapped Rowena’s fists. At the same time, Mrs McPhee pulled a pair of white socks up Annabelle’s arms, tucking the sleeves of her pyjama jacket under and then wrapping white tape round the sock top and the sleeve.


“We not going to be able to use our hands, are we,” Annabelle said as Craig made sure Rowena’s hands were covered as well.


“No – I don’t think any of us will,” Craig said as he watched Mrs McPhee take two lengths of white rope from the bag, and hand one to him. 


“Turn round, girls, and put your hands behind your back.”


“Here we go,” Rowena said, Annabelle nodding as Mrs McPhee looked at Craig.  “Double the rope over, and then cross yer sister’s wrists behind her back.  Then copy me.”


Craig nodded as he slowly doubled the rope, and then crossed Rowena’s wrists behind her back, watching and then copying Mrs McPhee as she wrapped the rope round Annabelle’s wrists, then fed the ends through the centre loop and pulled them back.  As he did so, he saw the way Rowena’s wrists were pulled together, and then wrapped the rope round them in neat bands.


“Tuck the rope thru the top band, ahn then separate the ends.”  He did that, and then took the rope between Rowena’s arms to make the binding tighter, then tied the ends as Mrs McPhee did.


“how doe sit feel,” he whispered into Rowena’s ear.


“Tight, snug – but it doesn’t hurt.  What about you – are you all right doing this?”


“I’m, not sure – but it will be my turn soon,” Craig said as he looked at Annabelle – and then saw the long length of rope Mrs McPhee handed him.


“Shake it loose, laddie, then double it over and pass it round her body, then pull it tight round her tummy.”


Craig nodded as he passed the rope round Rowena, and then pulled it tight as his sister bit on her lower lip.  “that’s different,” she said as Craig looked at the masked woman, then took the rope round Rowena’s upper arms, forcing them against her sides as Annabelle gasped.


He looked over to see his sister, the two bands of rope growing wider as Her jacket was stretched, and felt something himself, but he shook his head and concentrated on making sure his other sister was all right.  He made sure the two bands were neat and tight, before he copied Mrs McPhee by taking the rope around both bands behind her back, and tying the ends off.


He then used smaller lengths to tighten the bands between Rowena’s arms and body, the young girl twisting round as he tied the last knot.


“Sit doon on the bed,” Mrs McPhee said, the two girls doing so and watching as Craig gripped sponge balls in his hands as well.


“How do you feel,” Rowena said as she saw Annabelle twist round.


“Different – I mean, it doesn’t hurt, but it is tight,” Annabelle replied, “and I wonder what else they are going to do.  You?”


“It’s like being hugged all the time – it actually feels nice in a funny way.”


“It does, doesn’t it – and yeah, it is also exciting, but you know what’s funny?”




“I’m not scared – not scared at all.”  Rowena nodded as they watched Mrs McPhee bind their brother’s arms to his sides in the same way as them, and then stood up before they walked downstairs.


“Well, here we are,” Carol said as they walked in, the other three nodding as they took their places on the couch again.  Craig saw that both Carol and Edna now had bands of rope around their ankles, and their legs below their knees, and then watched as first his sisters, and then him had their ankles secured in the same way, followed by their own legs.


“Mum has her legs free – for some reason,” Edna giggled as they looked at Grace, who nodded as she squirmed round in the chair.


“There is a reason – but you do not need to know it,” Jay said with a smile as he came back in with Pippa.  She had changed into a pair of red and black checked pyjamas, but like all the others she had her hands behind her back, and bands of rope round her arms and upper body.  She sat herself in the second armchair as Craig looked at her.


“Well, we are all the same,” she said with a smile, “Craig, are you all right?”


“Sorry, Mum,” he said quietly, it’s just…”


Pippa and Grace looked at each other as Craig blushed, before Pippa said “we can talk about that in the morning, when your dad is here.”


“Talk about what?”


Pippa looked over to where Philip was standing in the doorway, wearing a leather jacket over an open necked shirt and jeans.


“Growing up.”


“Oh – right.  Look, I have to go and do what they want now, but I wanted to say I’m incredibly proud of you.


“All of you,” he said as he looked at Grace and her daughters.


“Thank you,” Grace said as he nodded, and then went out with Jay and one of the masked men.  “You know what to do,” Jay asked, the man nodding as Philip said “you will keep them safe?”


“Do as he says, and you have my word,” Philip nodded as the front door was opened, and the two men stepped out into the darkness.  Jay walked back into the main room to see the girls and Craig watching the television, while Grace and Pippa talked to each other.


“Let them talk,” Mrs McPhee said, “ah’ll get sum milk fer them tae have before we make them quiet.”




“Thank you,” Edna said as she took her lips away from the metal straw, Mrs McPhee nodding as she put the glass down on the coffee table.


“Ah need tae make sure ye stay quiet now,” she said as she folded a white handkerchief, “so ah’ll put this in yer moof, ahnd then wrap some tape roond yer heid.”


“Okay,” the young girl said as she opened her mouth wide, feeling the cotton on her tongue as Mrs McPhee gently pushed the cloth in, then waiting as Edna closed her lips over it before she wrapped the white tape round her head, Grace watching as she did so.




“Hmfhnnhmhm,” her daughter mumbled as she looked over, while Mrs McPhee gave Rowena a drink next.


“My turn?”


“Your turn,” Mrs McPhee said as Pippa watched her gag her youngest daughter.  And then made sure the other two girls were just as quiet.  Craig was also watching, those feelings getting stringer as he watched the tape going round Carol’s head to silence her.


Mrs McPhee looked over, and said “you have a crush on her, don’t ye Craig?”


Craig blushed as he nodded, Grace and Pippa looking at each other as Grace blushed, and then said “uhrrcuhthswhl.”


“Well, something we can definitely talk about in the morning,” Pippa said, shaking her head as Mrs McPhee gagged her son.  “So, will you gag us as well now?”


“Phlshhsss,” Annabelle said as she looked at Pippa, Jay nodding as he said “we will – but something else for your mouths.”  He compressed a white sponge and then pushed it gently into Grace’s mouth, her daughters seeing the way her cheeks pushed out before he wrapped the white tape round her head.


“We’ll all be all right, okay?”  the children nodded before Jay gagged Pippa in the same way as Grace, then noticed that both Rowena and Edna were starting to fall asleep.


“perhaps the youngest should go up first?”


“Hllghtthh,” Carol mumbled, Grace nodding as two of the men lifted Rowena and Edna in their arms, and Mrs McPhee helped Carol to stand up – but not until she kissed Craig on the cheek with her gagged lips.  She then jumped over and kissed Grace on the cheek, before she followed the masked intruders to the staircase.


Jay shook his head, before he left the room, taking out a phone as he said “this is Jay…”


“Shh, uhfghtschrshhngrs?”


Craig looked at Annabelle, and said “Dhnttlhfff…”


“Hmnhtlhffhhn – shlhksuhswhl.”


Craig nodded as he wriggled round, and then said “Hfhlshfhfnnhhee.”


“Mhtthhh,” Annabelle said as she twisted round, wondering why the ropes rubbing on her chest made her feel giddy…



“Good – keep me posted,” Jay said as he glanced at the clock.  “It’s time, I need you all to stand up, and then come with me.”


Grace and Pippa stood themselves up as Mrs McPhee helped both Craig and Annabelle to stand up, the two children looking at each other before they jumped to the door, their mothers following as Jay led the way.  They then pushed themselves up the stairs before Mrs McPhee opened the door to Grace’s room.


She saw Edna and Carol lying on one side of her bed, both of them with their eyes closed as they faced each other.  Lengths of rope ran from their ankles to the bottom of the bed, Grace nodding as she sat down and watched one of the masked men cross and bind her ankles together, and then her legs below her knees.   Mrs McPhee then helped her to lie on her side, looking at her daughters as Jay pulled her ankles back and secured them to the chest ropes.


“Check them every fifteen minutes,” Jay said to the masked man, Pippa nodding as they left the bedroom and turned the light off.  Grace sighed as her eyes slowly closed…



Pippa looked in at Edna as she lay on her bed, her eyes closed and her chest rising and falling between the bands of ropes.  She nodded as the door was closed, and then watched as first Annabelle, and then Craig were helped to lie on their beds, their ankles secured to the foot of the bed with rope and then the doors closed.  She finally walked into her bedroom, looking round as she sat down and then watched Jay secure her ankles and legs together. 


Lying on her side, she felt him pull her ankles back and secure them to her chest ropes, as Mrs McPhee said “they’ll be ahl richt.”


“hknhhh,” she mumbled as her eyes slowly started to close, Jay and Mrs McPhee leaving the room and closing the door.


“Check on a rota,” Jay said as they walked back to the main room, seeing their associates clear up as they went to the kitchen.


“You went light with the gags,” Mrs McPhee whispered in her normal voice.


“I did – I think we’re fine though,” Jay replied as he checked his watch.  “Now we wait…”








As he slowly opened his eyes, Craig was surprised by three things.  First, there was sunlight coming through the curtains of his room.


Second, he could hear voices and footsteps, and saw two policemen pass his open door.


And thirdly, Carol was sitting on the bed, smiling as she said “your dad came home with the police a little while ago.  They freed us, and they’re freeing your mother and sisters – but I asked if I could free you.”




“I did,” Carol said as she leaned over and kissed his forehead.  “We need to talk…”












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